Samuel Cardwell

PhD Student

Fields of Study

Areas of Interest

Intellectual and ecclesiastical history of early medieval England, Ireland and Francia.

Working Dissertation


“The Idea of Evangelisation in Latin Christianity, c.400–800 AD”


Shami Ghosh


At the beginning of the fifth century, there is very little evidence that Christians believed they had an imperative to spread the Gospel to non-Christian peoples. However, the following centuries saw a remarkable outburst of efforts to evangelise “the nations”, including the work of well-known figures such as Patrick, Augustine of Canterbury, Aidan, Willibrord and Boniface. My dissertation seeks to trace the development of a new idea of evangelisation in this period, centred on new ways of reading biblical texts (such as the so-called Great Commission of Matthew 28:19–20). In doing so, we will gain a much better understanding of why these evangelistic ventures (commonly but anachronistically referred to as “missions”) took place.


Samuel was born in Vancouver to Northern Irish parents and grew up in Melbourne, Australia. He previously studied at the University of Melbourne, Monash University and the University of Cambridge, where he completed an MPhil in Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic in 2015, supervised by Prof. Rosalind Love. He came to Toronto in 2017, where he is completing a dissertation on the development of the idea of evangelisation in late antique and early medieval Latin-speaking Christianity. He has previously worked on the intellectual and ecclesiastical history of early medieval England, with a focus on the works of the Venerable Bede (c.672/3–735 AD). He also has interests in early medieval Ireland and Wales, Merovingian and Carolingian Europe, as well as Insular Latin and Old/Middle English literature. He has published in journals including the Journal of Medieval History, Early Middle English and the Journal of the Australian Early Medieval Association. Outside of academia, he enjoys playing music, singing in choirs, baking, and watching cricket, football and rugby union.


MPhil, University of Cambridge
BA (Hons), Monash University
BA, University of Melbourne